“Do you ever think of doing something else?”

I’ve been asked this question by a few people recently in relation to my work at The Dale. Allow me to explain.

In an effort to remain healthy, I have been pursuing the help of a counsellor, a spiritual director and mentors. There is an intensity to my life that I know needs taking care of. I don’t want to burnout. The people supporting me are the ones posing the question- not because they want me to do something else, but because they want me to be mindful. My response remains the same each time: “No, I can’t imagine doing anything else. The sense of call I have is deep”.

I know that callings can change. What nurtures mine are my faith, my family, friends, and the people that make up The Dale. Just last week I shared at a memorial service how community is built when we share simple gestures of concern and love for one another. As a group we are constantly growing in our capacity for this. I am nourished by my Parkdale friends: Marlene who cups my face, calls me ‘Little Lamb’ and tells me that she worries about how much is on my plate; Doug who constantly encourages me; James who is intent on helping to fund The Dale with his future earnings; Joanna who writes me cards just because; Chaz who always, always asks about Cate. I could write pages about this.

Just today I sat with someone at our lunch drop-in who said, “this meal is so good. You can practically taste the love it was made with”. I couldn’t help but smile and think about how many hands had a part in preparing it. This person didn’t have to say anything, but by choosing to do so encouraged not only me, but the many in the kitchen. In turn, he was pleased to see how his seemingly small gesture of love actually had an enormous impact.

There have been some hard days lately, mostly in relation to the deaths of too many. I am admittedly weary and yes, sad. I am also feeling SO grateful and encouraged: for people who can ask me the hard questions and a community that urges me on.

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